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August 22, 2006, 9:49 PM CT

Is Tykerb better than Herceptin?

Is Tykerb better than Herceptin?
In reference to: Lapatinib In The Treatment Of Breast Cancer (April 4, 2006) Is Tykerb better than Herceptin? Maybe, for these reasons. Cells are the most basic structure of the body. Cells make up tissues, and tissues make up organs, such as the lungs or liver. Each cell is surrounded by a membrane, a thin layer that separates the outside of the cell from the inside. For a cell to perform necessary functions for the body and respond to its surroundings, it needs to communicate with other cells in the body. Communication occurs through chemical messages in a process called signal transduction. The purpose of these signals is to tell the cell what to do, such as when to grow, divide into two new cells, and die.

Targeted cancer therapies use drugs that block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules involved in carcinogenesis (the process by which normal cells become cancer cells) and tumor growth. By focusing on molecular and cellular changes that are specific to cancer, targeted cancer therapies may be more effective than current therapys and less harmful to normal cells. However, the monoclonal antibodies like Herceptin and Erbitux are \"large\" molecules. These very large molecules don\'t have a convenient way of getting access to the large majority of cells. Plus, there is multicellular resistance, the drugs affecting only the cells on the outside may not kill these cells if they are in contact with cells on the inside, which are protected from the drug. The cells may pass small molecules back and forth. Exciting results have come from studies of multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors, \"small\" molecules that act on multiple receptors in the malignant cells, like Tyberb and Sutent. Targeted \"small-molecule\" therapies ruled at the recent annual ASCO meeting of oncologists. The trend is away from the monoclonals to the small molecules, a trend in which a new predictive test may be able to hasten. The EGRFx (TM) assay is able to test molecularly-targeted anti-cancer drug therapies like Iressa, Tarceva, Tykerb, Sutent and possibly Nexavar, because of being small molecules.........

Posted by: Gregory D. Pawelski       Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 8:08 PM CT

Self-inflicting injuries in teens

Self-inflicting injuries in teens
In a survey of more than 6,000 15 and 16-year-old school pupils, scientists observed that girls are four times more likely to have engaged in deliberate self-harm in comparison to boys, with 11 per cent of girls and 3 per cent of boys reporting that they had self-harmed within the last year.

Prior estimates for the amount self-harm in the country were based on the 25,000 'presentations' at hospitals in England and Wales each year that are the result of deliberate self-poisoning or self-injury amongst teenagers.

However, research by academics from the universities of Bath and Oxford has observed that only 13 per cent of self-harming incidents reported by the pupils had resulted in a hospital visit.

Eventhough self-poisoning is the most common form of self-harm reported in hospitals, the study revealed that self-cutting was the more prevalent form of self-harm (64.5 per cent), followed by self-poisoning through overdose (31 per cent).

"The study shows that deliberate self-harm is common amongst teenagers in England, particularly in girls who are four times more likely to self-harm than boys," said Dr Karen Rodham from the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath.

"Until now, most studies of deliberate self-harm in adolescents in the UK have been based on the cases that reach hospital.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 8:02 PM CT

Exposure to pollutants may affect immunity

Exposure to pollutants may affect immunity
New epidemiological evidence suggests that exposure to environmental pollutants may have an adverse impact on immune responses to childhood vaccinations. The research appears in the Aug. 22, 2006, online edition of Public Library of Science Medicine.

The study looked at two groups of children in the Faroe Islands, which are located in the North Atlantic and where traditional diets may include whale blubber contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Blood and milk samples taken during pregnancy from the mothers were analyzed to determine the children's prenatal PCB exposure. After routine childhood vaccinations against tetanus and diphtheria, the two groups of children were examined at age 18 months and 7 years, and blood samples were examined for tetanus and diphtheria antibodies.

The findings showed an association between increased PCB contamination and lowered antibody response to the vaccines. At 18 months, the diphtheria antibody concentration decreased by 24 percent for each doubling of the PCB exposure. At 7 years, the tetanus antibody response showed the strongest response and decreased by 16 percent for each doubling of the prenatal exposure.

"Our study raises concern that exposure to PCB and similar compounds may make childhood vaccinations less efficient," said Philippe Grandjean , adjunct professor at Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of the paper. Exposed children may also be more susceptible to infections in general, he said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 7:53 PM CT

Challenging Privately Funded Breast Cancer Research

Challenging Privately Funded Breast Cancer Research
New research by a Queen's University researcher questions the effectiveness of privately funded efforts to stop the epidemic of breast cancer among North American women.

"Breast cancer has been transformed into a market-driven industry," says Kinesiology and Health Studies researcher Samantha King. "It has become more about making money for corporate sponsors than funding innovative ways to treat breast cancer".

Dr. King's research, just published by University of Minnesota Press in a controversial new book, Pink Ribbons Inc., traces breast cancer's transformation from a stigmatized disease and individual tragedy to what she describes as "a market-driven industry that feeds off breast cancer survivors".

As per her research, only 64% of the money raised from one high-profile corporation's walk for breast cancer actually went to breast cancer organizations.

Dr. King documents how the event and its logo have become products brought and sold by North American corporate sponsors and "the extent to which fundraising for breast cancer has become a highly valued commodity in itself".

"Fundraising for breast cancer has developed into a highly competitive market in which large foundations and corporations compete with one another to attract the loyalty of consumers - in this case, well-intentioned members of the public wanting to do their part in the fight against the disease," she says.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 7:03 PM CT

Cigarette smoke blocks cell repair mechanism

Cigarette smoke blocks cell repair mechanism
Cigarette smoke can turn normal breast cells malignant by blocking their ability to repair themselves, eventually triggering tumor development, University of Florida researchers report.

While some cells nonetheless rally and are able to fix their damaged DNA, a number of others become unable to access their own cellular first aid kit, as per findings from a UF study published recently (Aug. 21) in the journal Oncogene. If they survive long enough to divide and multiply, they pass along their mutations, acquiring cancerous properties.

Past research has been controversial. Tobacco smoke contains dozens of cancer-causing chemicals, but until more recently a number of studies found only weak correlations between smoking and breast cancer risk, or none at all. Those findings are increasingly being challenged by newer studies that are focusing on more than just single chemical components of tobacco, as past research often has done. In the UF study, scientists instead used a tar that contains all of the 4,000 chemicals found in cigarette smoke.

"Our study suggests the mechanism by which this may be happening," said Satya Narayan, Ph.D., an associate professor of anatomy and cell biology at UF's College of Medicine. "This is basically the important finding in our case: We are now describing how cigarette smoke condensate, which is a surrogate for cigarette smoke, can cause DNA damage and can block the DNA repair of a cell or compromise the DNA repair capacity of a cell. That can be detrimental for the cell and can lead to transformation or carcinogenesis".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 6:52 PM CT

No more than two strokes

No more than two strokes
Having a stroke is bad enough. But having another one after surviving the first one is particularly bad, more than doubling a person's risk of dying in the next two years, a new study finds.

The risk of a second stroke is particularly high among members of the largest and fastest-growing subgroup of Latinos in the United States: Mexican-Americans. The new study finds that they are more likely than their non-Latino white neighbors to suffer another stroke in the first two years after living through one.

The study, reported in the Annals of Neurology by a team from the University of Michigan Stroke Program in conjunction with colleagues in Texas, highlights the importance of what doctors call 'secondary prevention.'

In other words, those who live through a stroke should get special attention from their physicians and other health professionals to reduce their risk of having another one. And, because of their extra risk of suffering another stroke, those efforts should be particularly stepped up in Mexican-Americans, the scientists say.

"This finding completes a picture that has been taking shape through research on ethnic differences in stroke," says lead author Lynda Lisabeth, Ph.D. "We know that Mexican-Americans have a higher overall risk of stroke, tend to have strokes starting at younger ages, and generally have a better chance of surviving their first stroke, compared with non-Hispanic whites. Now, by finding this higher rate of recurrence, we have a better idea of the overall burden of stroke in this population.".........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 6:48 PM CT

Snap Judgments Decide A Face's Character

Snap Judgments Decide A Face's Character
We may be taught not to judge a book by its cover, but when we see a new face, our brains decide whether a person is attractive and trustworthy within a tenth of a second, as per recent Princeton research.

Princeton University psychology expert Alex Todorov has observed that people respond intuitively to faces so rapidly that our reasoning minds may not have time to influence the reaction -- and that our intuitions about attraction and trust are among those we form the fastest.

"The link between facial features and character may be tenuous at best, but that doesn't stop our minds from sizing other people up at a glance," said Todorov, an assistant professor of psychology. "We decide very quickly whether a person possesses a number of of the traits we feel are important, such as likeability and competence, even though we have not exchanged a single word with them. It appears that we are hard-wired to draw these inferences in a fast, unreflective way."

Todorov and co-author Janine Willis, a student researcher who graduated from Princeton in 2005, used timed experiments and observed that snap judgments on character are often formed with insufficient time for rational thought. They published their research in the recent issue of the journal Psychological Science.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 6:36 PM CT

Home Needles For Blood clots

Home Needles For Blood clots
Looks like those long days you spend in the hospital for therapy of blood clots are over. Scientists have shown that therapy of blood clots in the deep veins of the legs or the lungs with an older, less expensive form of the anticoagulant medicine heparin can be just as safe and effective as similar therapy with a newer and more expensive heparin, as per a research studyled by Clive Kearon, professor of medicine at McMaster University, reported in the August 23 issue of JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association).

When injected subcutaneously (beneath the skin), unfractionated (regular) heparin was shown in a randomized trial to work just as well as subcutaneous injection of the more expensive, low-molecular weight heparin in the therapy of venous thromboembolism. Traditionally, when unfractionated heparin is used in therapy, it is administered intravenously and accompanied by coagulation monitoring, which requires hospitalization. This standard approach includes ongoing dose adjustment in response to measurement of the APTT, a test that measures how fast the blood clots in a test tube under certain conditions.

The newer low-molecular weight heparins, which are administered by injection in fixed-weight doses, have gradually been replacing unfractionated heparin.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 6:04 PM CT

Ever-happy Mice And Treatment Of Depression

Ever-happy Mice And Treatment Of Depression
Can you think of being permanently happy and cheerful? That's what a team of scientists did. A new breed of permanently 'cheerful' mouse is providing hope of a new therapy for clinical depression. TREK-1 is a gene that can affect transmission of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is known to play an important role in mood, sleep and sexuality. By breeding mice with an absence of TREK-1, scientists were able create a depression-resistant strain. The details of this research, which involved an international collaboration with researchers from the University of Nice, France, are published in Nature Neuroscience this week.

"Depression is a devastating illness, which affects around 10% of people at some point in their life," says Dr. Guy Debonnel an MUHC psychiatry expert, professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, and principal author of the new research. "Current medications for clinical depression are ineffective for a third of patients, which is why the development of alternate therapys is so important".

Mice without the TREK-1 gene ('knock-out' mice) were created and bred in collaboration with Dr. Michel Lazdunski, co-author of the research, in his laboratory at the University of Nice, France. "These 'knock-out' mice were then tested using separate behavioral, electrophysiological and biochemical measures known to gauge 'depression' in animals," says Dr. Debonnel. "The results really surprised us; our 'knock-out' mice acted as if they had been treated with antidepressants for at least three weeks."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 5:10 AM CT

Schizophrenics At Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

Schizophrenics At Risk For Type 2 Diabetes
Dissecting the relationship between schizophrenia and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes has physician-researchers reaching across the Atlantic Ocean.

They are looking at newly diagnosed schizophrenics in an upper-middle-class Spanish community to find whether the disease that causes patients to hear voices and smell, feel and even taste unreal objects also increases their risk of diabetes.

Researchers know the drugs that best control the psychosis increase the risk. "We know it's the medicine; I'm asking whether it's the disease as well," says Dr. Brian Kirkpatrick, vice chair of the Medical College of Georgia Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior and principal investigator on the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases-funded study.

Dr. Kirkpatrick and his colleagues at Hospital Clinic at the University of Barcelona in Spain and the University of Maryland note mounting evidence that developmental problems, resulting from significant maternal stress in the second or early third trimester of pregnancy, may cause schizophrenia and related problems.

"The brain has this incredibly complex development where cells are born here and march over here and send communication over here; that goes wrong from the very beginning probably," says Dr. Kirkpatrick of the complex process of laying down normal communication pathways that apparently go awry in about 1 percent of people.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source



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Did you know?
Studies in monkeys and women suggest that unlike traditional estrogen therapy, a diet high in the natural plant estrogens found in soy does not increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Mark Cline, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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